For many reasons the last week in Waiheke was a string of days to remember. But the reason for going to NZ and the topper to it all was to celebrate Claire and Jonathan’s wedding — not even a minor cyclone could put a damper on the day.
Every detail had a unique personal touch that stood out from your standard wedding checklist, not the least of which was the groom walking up the aisle with his soon-to-be-bride, and the four flower girls that took the place of bridesmaids.
Post-ceremony we were all handed white umbrellas to make a mad dash and whisked off in vans to Mudbrick Winery where we hunkered down for some fun. The room looked stunning in candlelight and battery operated Christmas lights, which we would find out later was not only setting the ambiance but a lifesaver when the power went out.
The menu was not only the best meal I’ve had at a wedding, but one of the best meals I’ve had recently. The Taste of the Hauraki Gulf starter consisted of a stunning display of locally caught seafood — Te Matuku Bay oyster, kiwi, New Zealand wasabi & paua, and New Zealand Bream Bay scallops, passion fruit with cauliflower. For the main I had the Leigh line-caught fish of the day with miso, asparagus, burnt leek, grapefruit and prawn fritter. Hello. Each course was also paired with a wine specially selected by Jonathan’s brother-in-law who works for the New Zealand Wine Association. To say there was no slow consumption throughout dinner is an understatement.
The speeches lightened the mood as the wind howled, the roof leaked, and the power went out mid-meal, none of which put a damper on the beautifully set room that looked like it was meant to be dark and cozy or, as Jonathan put it, something out of Phantom of the Opera. It also helped that the emcee of the evening had nothing written on his “note cards” requiring light.
Bonus highlights of the stunning evening were reuniting with the old Credit Suisse gang, and the very strong display of shirtless manliness, which may be hard to see in the video below, but is worth listening too. For those not in the know, this is called the Haka, which is an ancient Maori dance and usually an excuse for guys beat their chests at rugby matches.
Even when the wedding was over the party didn’t end there. The next day Claire and Jonathan hosted a lunch at their house with more amazing food including one of my favorite desserts of all-time, Pavlova. I ate two.
That night (our last night) almost the entire island was without power again, so we picked up pizzas and ate our last meal by candlelight.
Made an impromptu visit to Devonport on my way to the airport to have lunch with Robbie and his family, where we went hunting for fairies and took a stroll by the beach for more horrible views. 🙂
Now in Melbourne, the Tim Tam capital of the world, on a late night stopover to Bangkok. I’m the only person in the Air New Zealand lounge, so thinking of doing cartwheels and filling my pockets with snack mix. See you in Cambodia…